It’s Summertime and I don’t know about where you live, but where I live – it’s HOT! And, here in North Carolina, we top off hot with HUMID. I certainly understand why those Southern Belles in their 56 pounds of metal corsets and hoops with no air conditioning needed fainting couches!
Today, we pay monthly for our physical comforts (well worth it, I say). However, no need to pay more than necessary.
So, what can you do to trim your summer utility bills and how can you conserve energy without reducing comfort? Here are just a few suggestions:
- Change out traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescents. They give off far less heat.
- Use table lamps rather than overhead lighting. Also reduces heat in the room.
- Place heat-producing appliances such as lamps and televisions away from the air conditioning thermostat to prevent inaccurate temperature readings.
- Have your air conditioning unit checked to make sure it’s running efficiently and so it won’t break down on a hot day!
- Pull out weeds and anything near your outdoor unit that may block airflow.
- Keep your thermostat a degree or two higher than you’ve been used to (the highest comfortable setting for you and your family). *Remember, the cooler your home, the more energy you’re using. Did you know that changing your thermostat is a more valuable action in summer than in winter? For a $300 cooling bill with your thermostat set to 73 degrees, you can save as much as $100 per month by moving your thermostat to 76 degrees.
- Raise your thermostat several degrees when everyone leaves for the day. Set it back to your normal temperature when you get home. Raising your thermostat just 2 degrees can save as much as 5% off your cooling bill.
- Turn a/c off when traveling for more than a day (unless you leave pets in the home).
- When using a central air conditioning system, do not close off unused rooms or close air registers in rooms. The system will be less efficient and will cost more to operate.
- Clean or replace window unit or central air conditioning system filters monthly. Dirty filters cause air conditioners to work harder and use more energy.
- Make sure your central air conditioning system or window unit is properly sized for the space it is intended to cool. Improperly sized units use more energy than necessary. Remember, window air conditioning units generally are not designed to cool more than one room.
- For homes without air conditioning systems, use fans to draw cooler air inside during the night and to circulate air throughout your home during the day.
- Ceiling fans circulate air which keeps you comfortable and allows you to raise the thermostat 1-2 degrees. Fan blades should rotate counter-clockwise in the summer months. Only use ceiling fans when you’re in the room.
- Keep blinds closed on sunny side of your home. Leaving them open can add 1/3 to your energy costs.
- Clean or replace air filters monthly.
- Keep windows closed at night if it’s humid out. Humidity adds extra strain to the a/c unit. Keeping windows closed and a/c running at all times will save money over opening windows at night and letting in humidity.
- Do moisture producing tasks — like dishwashing and washing clothes — early morning or night-time. The humidity from these activities adds heat.
- On hot days cook outdoors, use the microwave, or prepare cold meals to avoid heating up the kitchen.
- Use an ice tray. Icemakers increase your refrigerators energy consumption 14-20%!
- Contact your utility company. Find out if they offer free energy audits by inspecting your home for energy effectiveness and recommending inexpensive ways to cut energy costs. Ours does. I had to wait several months because they stay so backed up, but Duke Energy gave me a free energy audit and gifts!
What can you add?